Buying or selling a home in Massachusetts is different
than in most other states. So, if you've bought or sold
a home in another state, this section is dedicated to
A real estate transaction in Massachusetts typically costs more than in other
states and can be a bit more complex.
Of course, local customs vary from area to area (even within our state) so don't
expect that if your home in another state came with a refrigerator, and without
a stove, that will be the case here. Almost everything is negotiable, but the
customs in various real estate markets dictate many of the unwritten rules because
New Englanders are reluctant to embrace change quickly even in the Internet era.
Here are the main reasons that a Massachusetts real estate transaction is different
than in most other states:
1. In most states, "escrow companies" hold deposit money, research titles and
handle the details of closing the transaction. In Massachusetts, there are no "escrow" companies.
In our state, your escrow deposit is held in a special "escrow" or "client funds
account" by either the listing broker or the seller's attorney. Occasionally,
the buyer's broker or attorney may hold the deposit. The funds are accounted
for when the property closes and you receive credit for your funds on the closing
2. Instead of an escrow company to arrange the details of the closing, the lender's
attorney typically conducts the closing. Typically, all parties are present at
the closing, including the buyers and sellers, their attorneys and agents as
well as the lender's attorney. (The lender's attorney is also known as the "closing" or "conveyancing" attorney.)
3. Instead of signing a single purchase contract (as in most states), most Massachusetts
real estate markets use a two-step approach. The first step is the "offer", which
is typically handled by the agents and followed with a Purchase and Sale agreement,
also known as the P+S. The P+S agreement is a more detailed document than the
offer and is typically negotiated and drafted by the buyer's and seller's attorneys,
based on a standard P+S form and the details of the offer.
4. Buyers should not expect to get a "warranty deed" for a property in Massachusetts.
We typically use "quitclaim" deeds in this state.
Most real estate transactions are unique in some respects. Since attorneys are
involved at each step in Massachusetts, many believe that buyers and sellers
are better protected than in many other states. The quality of your final Purchase
and Sale agreement, which often dictates the quality of your transaction if problems
arise, is only as good as the skills that your attorney and agent bring to the
transaction. (A good attorney will be able to incorporate the protections that
a good agent has negotiated into the offer. A less skilled attorney will often
loose the benefits that a good agent has negotiated into the offer.) That is
why it essential to use a specialized real estate attorney in Massachusetts whose
practice involves the conveyance of real estate on a very regular basis. Therefore,
choosing your agent and attorney based on their reputation for advocacy as well
as technical skills becomes very important to the final outcome of your transaction.
We are here to help before, during and after your real
estate transaction. If you have any questions about real
estate transactions in Massachusetts, please feel free
us for straight answers or for a referral to a good
real estate attorney.
is owned by:
Greater Boston Home Buying, Inc., Sam Schneiderman, President/Principal
Mailing Address: 675 VFW Parkway #332, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
Phone: 617-469-4200 • Fax: 877-443-4994